BPA: The Fight Goes On

Bisphenol A or BPA is an organic compound that has quickly fallen out of favor and into the news headlines in the past few years – notably so in the last week when the FDA announced it was denying the National Resources Defense Council’s petition to ban BPA in the food and food packaging. The petition, which was filed in 2008, spurred the FDA to do research on the effects of BPA. According to a recently released study they found that:

The level of BPA from food that could be passed from pregnant mothers to the fetus is so low that it could not be measured. Researchers fed pregnant rodents 100 to 1,000times more BPA than people are exposed to through food, and could not detect the active form of BPA in the fetus eight hours after the mother’s exposure. Exposure to BPA in human infants is from 84 to 92 percent less than previously estimated.

The FDA has stated that it remains committed to studying BPA and its effects in our food supply, and it will undergo another safety review in the near future. Previously (in 2010) the FDA stated  that it is “…taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.”

These steps include:

  • supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
  • facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
  • supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.

Despite denial of the petition to ban BPA, the FDA had previously announced it was supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA while seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA and supporting recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services for infant feeding and food preparation to reduce exposure to BPA.

Despite the denial of the petition, eleven states have passed legislation banning BPA in baby bottles and/or sippy cups made for toddlers.  BPA promises to continue to be a controversial topic in today’s food and health industry, as many consumers are seeking BPA-free alternatives despite the FDA’s assurance that it is safe for use in food packaging.